I have a sale coming up that includes an amazing collection of Nippon Porcelain. The pieces are all museum quality and I doubt you’ll see a collection this extensive outside of a museum! I’m doing lots of research because I want to make sure I know as much as possible about these rare beauties and I thought some of you might be as interested as I am to learn more about them.
When we use the general term “Nippon porcelain” it refers to vases, bowls, plates, etc. that have the word Nippon stamped on them. Nippon is the English spelling of a Japanese word that means Japan. In 1891, the McKinley Tariff Act said that all goods imported into the United States had to be marked “plainly in English” with their country of origin. Then in 1921, U.S. Customs declared the word Nippon was actually a Japanese word so goods were then marked Japan. So, that means these vases are over or near 100 years old. And that is the least amazing thing about them!
At that period in time, Japanese taste was very different from American and even English preferences. The Japanese preferred a very minimal, spartan look while Americans were heavily influenced by Victorian trends and loved ornate, over the top decorations. So the Japanese painted these objects for export and used several different techniques to achieve the sought after finish Americans loved. One of these techniques is called Coralene. This is an extremely labor intensive process. First the object is painted with a thick enamel paint, then tiny glass beads are pressed into the paint and the object is fired again to make them a permanent part of the piece. The beads were often gold, white, opalescent or clear and would sometimes melt into the decoration. Some think because this process resembles natural coral that the name comes from that. Wares produced after 1921 would imitate the Coralene process by using paint instead of glass beads to build up a design. Another process they used is called moriage. They used clay slip instead of glass beads to achieve a similar look.
I think these pieces are works of art and hope you enjoyed learning about them as much as I did! If you are in or near Lake Charles, Louisiana the 31st of July, please come see these incredible objects. We’d love to have you! Here are a few more pictures and you can see all of the collection next week on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/southernestatesales